Michael Rothenstein


Michael Rothenstein was the son of Sir William Rothenstein, the celebrated painter printmaker, writer and principal of the Royal College of Art. Michael was born in London and studied at Central School of Arts and Crafts. His studies were interrupted by a long illness (myxoedoema,a disease caused by underactivity of the thyroid gland). This caused a lengthy depression from which he eventually recovered. In 1940, he moved to Essex where he painted landscapes and rural subjects.

In 1946 he embarked on a career as a printmaker and began to explore the many forms of print, including lithography, etching, aquatint, woodcuts, linocuts and screenprinting amongst others. He had numerous solo exhibitions throughout the world and his work is held by many public galleries such as the Tate ( London ), Museum of Modern Art ( New York ), British Museum, Smithsonian Institute (Washington) and the National Gallery of Australia .

During a printmaking career that stretched over nearly half a century he earned a reputation as one of the most exciting and versatile printmakers of the century. He sometimes combined methods, such as woodcut, linocut and screenprint in a single print. Another of his contributions was incorporating found objects (such as bits of plank or crates, cogs, bits of metal) into relief prints and he published three books on his approach to printmaking.

His subject matter was wide ranging but he often included recognizable, figurative elements and more abstract textural components in a collage-like composition.

To find out more see:

Tessa Sidey, (1993) The Prints of Michael Rothenstein, Scolar Press, Aldershot